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101 Posts authored by: andrewklock Employee
andrewklock

School buses go electric!

Posted by andrewklock Employee Oct 27, 2011

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It’s not quite Ms. Frizzle and her Magic School Bus, but the ride to school may be getting a bit more advanced.

According to Fox News,  New York-based bus manufacturer Trans Tech Bus has just revealed plans for an electric school bus be sold next year.

Known as the eTrans, the 42-passenger Type-A bus will be engineered in conjunction with Smith Electric Vehicles, based in Kansas City. Trans Tech Bus CEO Dan Daniels says that the eTrans will be available in several models, with a maximum range between 45 and 120 miles per charge—perfect for the average school bus. It will take about eight hours to charge completely (only a little longer than the average school day), and run at a top speed of 50 mph.

Lots of people are concerned about adults making their daily commutes more environmentally friendly, but often forget that kids have a commute, too! Approximately 26 million elementary and secondary school-age children ride a school bus twice a day in the United States. The eTrans is just one way for some of the country’s littlest future environmentalists to get a taste of doing their part to green up our roads.

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While hybrid and electric vehicles have higher concentrations in urban areas, especially along the East and West coasts, the love and preparation for these cars spans the whole country—so much of a span, in fact, that when the folks at Plug-in America wanted to start an event to bring EV drivers together, they knew they couldn’t do it in just one place.

So instead of holding parades and tailgating events in just one city, National Plug-in Day—intended to draw global awareness to the environmental, economic and other benefits of plug-in electric vehicles—took place through simultaneous events in twenty-six cities across the United States.

The Plug-in Day events drew EV owners, car dealers, and many people who were simply curious about how EVs work and why they’re so crucial to the environmental movement. Advertised as the “largest grassroots EV event in history”, National Plug-in Day featured “tailpipe-free” tailgate parties, lectures, a ceremonial plugging-in and other grassroots events.

To see some great photos of the event, check out the event page.

06-rx400-hero[1]Hybrid SUVs like the Lexus RX 400h allow drivers to enjoy Montana's beautiful off-road scenery...without polluting it in the process!

October is Fire Prevention Month, and who better to show first responders a few new things about preventing fires in electric vehicles than the EV Safety Training crew? Subject Matter Expert Matt Paiss visited the Montana Fire Services Training School on Saturday October 1st to deliver the electric vehicle safety for first responders train-the-trainer course to a full house of firefighters and instructors.

First responders attending the class also got the chance to see the inside workings of a Toyota Prius, generously lent by City Toyota.

For more coverage of the training in Montana, as well as some great video footage, check out the article from the local News Channel 5.

FireFighterNation logo An interview with our EV trainer Jason Emery was featured on FirefighterNation.com, part of the FireRescue magazine network. The article and interview include a great summary of the potential challenges posed by electric vehicles and outline resources available to first responders through NFPA’s EV Safety Training project.

 

Jason took time to discuss recent developments in the field of electric vehicle safety and what firefighters and first responders can expect from our nationwide training project.

“We’ve developed a class that’s a national level curriculum for responding to hybrid and electric vehicles,” said Emery. “And over the next year and half we’re getting out to each of the states and conducting train-the-trainer sessions through the state fire academies, so their instructional personnel can turn it around and get it to the folks in the field.”

As Jason mentions in the story, our nationwide train-the-trainer session continues this fall in several states. View the full calendar and sign up for upcoming trainings. While you’re at it, check out Firefighter Nation’s Facebook and like this story there as well.

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At EV Safety Training, we do our best to keep you updated on all of the great safety features and money-saving abilities of electric vehicles. But we know that there are still a lot of concerns. Will my EV get me where I need to go on one charge? What if I can’t find a charging station? EVs are so expensive!

These are all legitimate concerns, and we can understand where you’re coming from. But that doesn’t mean you should hold back from buying an electric vehicle!

This week, Jim Motava, a New York Times contributor, took to the popular Mother Nature Network to tell readers just where the myths of electric vehicles end in an article called “5 things you need to know about green cars.” What are the five most important things this green car fan thinks you should know? Head over to the article and find out!

NH Training  (7) Trainees in New Hampshire learn about the components and safety features of a
new Chevrolet Volt, provided by Hilltop Chevrolet in Somersworth, NH

It was a beautiful fall day in New Hampshire, and the EV Safety Training Team was in Concord to deliver a train-the-trainer course. Nearly fifty students learned all there is to know about electric vehicle safety from Subject Matter Expert Chris Pepler and Project Coordinator Angela Burke.

Later in the afternoon, the class moved outside to explore some hybrid and electric vehicles. The New Hampshire trainees were lucky enough to have three electric vehicles (and even two hybrids) for the hands-on portion of their training: there were two Chevrolet Volts (one brought to us by Banks Chevrolet, the other provided by Hilltop Chevrolet), as well as a new 2012 Toyota Plug-in Prius provided by the New Hampshire Automobile Dealer's Association.

Curious about when the EV Safety Training team will head to your state? Check out our training calendar.

Bilde[1]Subject matter expert Matt Paiss shows a first responder the interior of a Chevy Volt.
Photo from Statesman Journal.

The EV Safety Training tour is still underway! On September 22, NFPA Subject Matter Expert Matt Paiss headed to Oregon to deliver the electric vehicle safety course to a group of about forty first responders. A brand-new Chevrolet Volt was on hand for course attendants to get an up-close and personal look at the vehicle's interior.

"Nice vehicle," said John Brown, a firefighter with the Cresent Fire District in central Oregon. "Creates headaches for us."

Hopefully, with the distribution of NFPA's training, there will be fewer headaches--and even fewer shocks--for firefighters responding to an electric vehicle incident. 

"Our firefighters and first responders always have adapted their response to new types of vehicles and technologies," said Erik Gabliks, director of the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. "Oregon is one of the leading states in terms of hybrid and electric vehicle sales. This training will help our first responders prepare and have the knowledge to better protect the communities we serve."

To see some great footage of the training, head over to the Statesman Journal.

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Georgia marked the third stop on our national “train-the-trainer” tour and nearly 100 firefighters and first responders from across the state turned out to take part in the training.

NFPA trainer Matt Paiss and Project Manager John Cannon were joined by members of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, GA to take part in the day-long training.

In addition to the classroom training, participants were able to view the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (provided by Riverside Ford Lincoln in Macon) and see first-hand the inner workings and new technologies in the hybrid electric vehicle.

“This is a great opportunity for many members of Georgia’s firefighting community to learn more about these new vehicles,” said Georgia Fire Academy Director Dave Wall, of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. “Here in Georgia we are starting to see a larger influx of new hybrid and electric vehicles. This training will help our firefighters prepare and have the knowledge to better protect the communities we serve.”

Participants in the Georgia training were provided with resources and materials to take back to fire districts across Georgia.

We have a busy couple of weeks ahead of us with stops in Oregon (September 22), New Hampshire (September 26) and Connecticut (September 30).

To find out more information about the EV safety training series, and to register for upcoming sessions near you, visit our calendar

EVSafetySummit 
The final details of NFPA and SAE International’s 2nd Annual Electric Vehicle Safety Standards Summit are coming together as the event on Sept. 27-28 draws near.

Last week additional speakers were announced, adding to the already impressive list of government representatives and experts in the fields of vehicle safety, fire protection, electrical safety and emergency response.

The latest additions made to this year’s list of speakers include:

  • Phil Gorney, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Lonny Simonian, California Polytechnic
  • Mark Earley, NFPA
  • Seth Gerber, Consumers Energy
  • Ken Boyce, Underwriter’s Lab – EVSE standardization
  • Andrew Klock, NFPA
  • Bob Duval, NFPA
  • Bill Giorges, Michigan Towing
  • Rich Gallagher, Zurich Services
  • Carl Rivkin, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

This list represents leading subject matter experts in a variety of areas pertinent to overall EV safety standards in the United States. The panel will provide insight into the many areas that must be considered for electric vehicle safety, such as utilities, electrical codes, charging codes and standards and potential fire issues.

EV Safety Training Project Manager Andrew Klock will discuss NFPA’s efforts surrounding the firefighter and first responder training program.

Be sure to download the agenda and register for the event before it's too late!

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News reports are coming out all the time with more information about the many benefits of driving green cars. It’s common knowledge that the U.S. government offers tax credits to buyers of environmentally-friendly vehicles—up to $7,500 for some models.

But the advantages of driving a green car don’t stop at tax season. Drivers of environmentally-friendly cars can enjoy the perks all year round as they cruise past gas stations: hybrid vehicles fill up far less often than standard vehicles, plug-in hybrid and extended-range electric vehicles even less. Many highways allow hybrid and electric vehicles carrying only one occupant to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes, usually reserved for carpoolers and families, as well as offering cheaper tolls. Some cities also allow green vehicles to park for free in areas where other cars have to pay meters.

It’s not just governments that are offering privileges to green drivers. Private businesses are also offering incentives in various forms, from free valet parking to store and restaurant discounts, to both employers and customers.

What are some of the perks to driving green in your area? 

The team over at Fire Chief magazine recently sat down with NFPA EV Safety Trainer Jason Emery to talk about the EV safety training project, lessons learned from the pilot trainings and a handful of tips for firefighters and first responders.

The article is a great introductory lesson for our in-classroom train-the-trainer sessions which are taking place across the country. To date, state-level trainings have taken place in Massachusetts and New York and several additional trainings are on the calendar for this fall.

Find out more information about the training schedule and how to sign up for upcoming trainings.

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The world of technology is cutting-edge, and with the vast influx of new electric vehicles competing for consumer dollars, you’d think that it might be cut-throat, too. But Ford and Toyota are doing the opposite of butting heads—they’re joining forces!

Reps from the companies announced on August 22 that Ford and Toyota will collaborate on a hybrid-electric powertrain for SUVs and light trucks. They plan to develop a rear-wheel drive electric powertrain, and then introduce it in separate vehicle lines for each company. Those vehicle lines would likely be released later this decade.

“The companies are likely looking to reduce cost of the drivetrain to grow the hybrid market, and they don’t see eat other as much as direct competitors in the SUV/truck market as with light duty cars,” said Pike Research analyst John Gardner. “There is enough differentiation in the rest of the vehicle design that a common drivetrain with a competitor should not be problematic.”

Toyota is no stranger to collaboration in the field of electric vehicle technology. The company is already working with Tesla Motors on an all-electric RAV4.

Electric_car_blog[1]President Barack Obama checks out hybrid vehicles at the Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center in Pomona, California.

This week, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced its decision to provide more than $175 million in grants to support advanced vehicle technologies – yet another move by the U.S. Government in support of the electric vehicle industry. The announcement of these grants comes at the heels of news that the Obama administration struck a deal with automakers to double automobile and light-duty truck mileage by 2025.

According to the press release from DOE, the grants “will support 40 projects across 15 states and will help improve the fuel efficiency of next generation vehicles. The projects will target new innovations throughout the vehicle, including better fuels and lubricants, lighter weight materials, longer-lasting and cheaper electric vehicle batteries and components, more efficient engine technologies and more. This comprehensive approach to vehicle efficiency research and development will help ensure the technologies are available to help automakers achieve recently announced fuel efficiency standards.” 

Some of the nation’s largest motor vehicle companies qualified for funding, including General Motors, the Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Company. Other transportation companies such as The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company were also selected for a portion of the endowment.

Since the NFPA EV Safety Training, funded by a $4.4 million grant from the DOE, first began last year, we have embarked on this initiative with the continued support from DOE. As these grants are used and new technologies are created, communities will continue to see the growing EV infrastructure across the U.S.  Fortunately, first responders everywhere will already have the knowledge and training they need to safely interact with electric vehicles. Knowing that firefighters and first responders are equipped with the necessary information about electric vehicles will be crucial to the public’s acceptance of these vehicles.

For information about where and when the NFPA Electric Vehicle Safety Training is coming to your state, continue to visit www.evsafetytraining.org as we regularly update scheduled trainings.

andrewklock

Electric Vehicles 101

Posted by andrewklock Employee Aug 11, 2011

Wheels-CT-blog480[1]The 2011 Lexus CT 200h is just one of the hybrid vehicles applauded by the Union for Concerned Scientists.

Do you want to find a cleaner-energy car, but aren’t sure where to start? Are you confused about the difference between a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid vehicle? Do the three levels of charging stations confuse you?

Here at EV Safety Training, we know that just because we eat, sleep, and breathe electric vehicles, not everyone else does. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there for people who want to learn more about the rapidly-expanding field of electric vehicle technology.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a science-based nonprofit focused on environmental health across the globe, recently launched a Clean Vehicles website to educate visitors about electric vehicles and other environmentally-friendly automobiles. The website has pages like “Clean Vehicles 101”, “Vehicle Technologies”, “Clean Vehicle Solutions”, and even success stories discussing the latest bounds in environmental and energy policies. There’s even a quiz where site visitors can test their knowledge of electric vehicles and find out if they’re a “Hybrid” or a “Hummer”—don’t worry, everyone on the EV Safety Training team were “Hybrids”!

For other information and resources about hybrid and electric vehicle technology, you can check out the Resources page at our website.

Wheels-Hertz-Nissan-Leaf-blog480[1]Electric vehicles, like this Nissan Leaf available for rent in New York City, were just one of the many subjects covered at the training session in Montour Falls.

New York was the second stop on our national “train-the-trainer” tour and nearly 100 firefighters and first responders turned out to take part in the important training.  See the full news release from the event here.

Our trainer Jason Emery and Project Manager John Cannon were joined by members of the NYS Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls, NY to take part in the day-long training. Participants were also treated to a first-hand session involving the new Chevy Volt (thanks, Elm Chevrolet!) and got to take a look at all the inner-workings of the advanced electric vehicle.

“This is new technology on the road; we need to bring firefighters up to speed so they know what to do with it,” said NYS Chief of Fire Services Tom Wutz.

The Elmira Star-Gazette and other local media outlets also visited the training and reported on the importance of the training for both firefighters and the general public.

Participants in the New York training were provided with resources and materials to take back to fire districts across New York State.

Next stop on our tour is Iowa on Saturday, August 27. To find out more information about the EV safety training series, and to register for upcoming sessions near you, visit our calendar.

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